Where to start
Direct communication Many private companies rely on media relations and press coverage to do their investor relations for them. While this is very effective at getting your message out there, it may not be seen by all of your investors, and your message cannot always be controlled fully.? If you are sending out a press release, consider repurposing it into an investor-focused email or a blog update. News needs to be shared as widely as possible and your investors should be top of that list, otherwise you risk losing their interest. Create a newsletter This is a great way of wrapping up news if you haven?t had any major news announcements. Some companies like to do this regularly, either monthly, quarterly or half year. Issue an annual review After your year-end, issue a financial and operational review statement. This is more than just sending your annual accounts and reports.? Make your accounts accessible and explain any highlights. An annual review is an opportunity to talk about what you?ve achieved, where you are in your plan and showcase some of your products, services and initiatives. Also look to the future and let your investors know what your prospects are for the year ahead. But make sure it is balanced. If you have any major risks or have failed to reach a milestone, then explain why and what you are doing about it. Private companies often shy away from this, but in fact it reaffirms your credibility. Make the most of your AGM Consider making your annual general meeting (AGM) an event ? invite your investors to attend and present on your progress and plans. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet with them and get feedback. Have a dedicated investor section on your website This doesn?t have to be complicated and you can even password-protect it. But as a general rule, include details of your ownership structure, board members, FAQs, details of the contact in charge of investors, investor documents, significant news, any presentations you may have done and upcoming events. You may have this spread across your website already, but by having the information that is relevant to investors in one place communicates the importance you place on them.
Don?t forget to leverage your investors Existing shareholders can be extremely useful in making introductions to potential new investors and facilitating business connections. They can also have insight into an area of your business and are often willing to share their knowledge and experience, acting as mentors or advisors. By noting their questions, you can learn what sort of information they are looking for and how to refine your pitch for future funding rounds. As well as being potential customers, your investors could be your biggest brand advocates, they have a vested interest in your business and if they are kept informed and engaged with your business, they?re more likely to spread the word about what you are trying to achieve. My advice is don?t keep your investors in the dark. As part owners of your business, they are important and you have a moral duty to keep them informed of the way the company is performing ? you never know, they may well be critical to your future growth and success. Up next ? Six common leadership pitfalls small business owners fall into.
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